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Commonly Asked Questions About Regenerative Medicine
Regenerative medicine (RM) is the newest frontier in helping cure chronic diseases that were considered to be fatal less than a decade ago. It is a new branch of medicine that focuses on creating living tissues that can be used to replace or repair missing or damaged organs.
Frequently asked questions about regenerative medicine
Regenerative medicine being one of the newest branches of medicine makes it a mystery for most people in terms of how it works. Let us take a look at some commonly asked questions to give you a clearer understanding of how it saves lives:
1. What is regenerative medicine?
It is a branch of medicine that involves engineering, regenerating, and replacing human cells. Procedures like stem cell transplants or growing tissues that are used to replace missing or damaged tissues to restore biological functions are included. It is an emerging branch of medicine that has the potential to change how doctors approach chronic health issues.
2. How does it work?
RM uses cells as building blocks to address chronic health disorders. When a part of the body becomes damaged or breaks down, the areas affected might no longer be able to support the organs and tissues properly.
Scientists can rebuild these building blocks by using stem cells through tissue engineering. Once these treatments have been perfected inside a lab, doctors can use them in their practice.
3. What are some of the elements of RM?
Some of the different elements that make up regenerative therapy include:
- Stem cells: Stem cells are master cells that divide and renew themselves, making more of the same type of cells. These cells can only renew into the tissues they originate from. For example, blood stem cells can only be used to make more blood cells. Stem cells cannot be turned into cells that are not related to their original source. Adult fat tissues extracted from stem cells can be used to regenerate soft tissues
- Bone marrow transplant: Bone marrow stem cells are harvested from healthy donors and injected into patients with missing or damaged cells so new cells can grow and replace them. In some cases, stem cells are removed from a patient, treated in a lab, and injected back into the patient. This process is called an autologous transplant
- Gene therapy. This involves identifying and replacing defective genes with normal ones. Gene therapy can also be used to cure some diseases
- Cell therapy: This procedure involves using stem cells to treat people with damaged tissues
- Umbilical cord blood cell: This refers to stem cells collected from the placenta of newborns and the umbilical cord
4. How much potential does RM have?
Regenerative medicine has already changed how doctors approach some chronic diseases, and it has the potential to cure some diseases that have been historically deemed life-threatening. However, working on the cellular level is still in its infancy, despite its incredible potential.
One application of RM is using tissue-engineered skin from stem cells to cover up serious wounds like diabetic leg ulcers or to treat burns. Scientists have also grown a urinary bladder using a patient’s cells and transplanted these cells into the patient. Such procedures have a lower risk of rejection since the transplanted cells are made from the patient’s cells. Stem cells can also be used to create grafts used for heart bypass surgery. The sky is the limit when it comes to growing tissues and organs from stem cells. There is a good chance that most organ transplants will be performed using organs grown from the patient’s stem cells at some point in the future. Regenerative therapy can also be used to speed up the healing process in parts of the body like cartilage or bone tissues.
5. What types of regenerative procedures have been approved by the FDA?
The Food and Drug Administration has approved stem cell therapy for various treatments. Approved clinical trials must be conducted on these treatments before getting the FDA’s stamp of approval. As of now, the only FDA-approved stem cell treatments are blood-forming stem cell treatments.
6. Are stem cells safe?
Stem cell therapy and other regenerative procedures are proving to be safe for many patients. Patients should diligently research any doctor and clinic they plan to get these treatments from to ensure they are only getting stem cells in their treatment and not other chemicals like anti-inflammatories or corticosteroids that make it difficult to gauge how effective the treatments are.
A new approach
Regenerative medicine might be what you need to put your health issues behind you. Call or stop by our Ooltewah clinic to set up an appointment.
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